If you’re looking to get the Isle of Skye to yourself, consider hiking Rubha nam Brathairean, or Brothers’ Point. This secluded and breathtaking hike just off the A855 will make you feel like the only person on the Isle of Skye. Brothers’ Point is perfect for hikers of all levels and has some of the best views you’ll see while on the Isle of Skye.
History (and legend) of Rubha nam Brathairean
It’s hard to find historical information about why Brothers’ Point is called Brothers’ Point. In fact, the only information I can find is what is included on the Staffin Ecomuseum’s signpost at the Brothers’ Point car park.
We don’t know whether the eponymous brothers were monks in the 6th century living in this secluded spot to escape persecution, or brothers who died in a shipwreck on the rocks near the shore in the 18th century—this appears to be lost to history. Regardless, this spot on the Isle of Skye has seen millennia of history.
Archaeologists on the island have found traces of hunter-gatherers, Iron Age warriors, medieval markets, clan chieftains and crofter-fishermen. Close to the shore, you will find the ruins of Roderick MacDonald’s (Ruaraidh Dhòmhnaill a’ Chùirn) house, whose family lived there until the late 19th century. Along the shore, you’ll find the ruins of a salmon bothy. Being amongst the ruins and in such a secluded, empty place will have you yourself feeling like part of the long history of Brothers’ Point.
Dinousars at Rubha nam Brathairean
As of early 2018, researchers have found dinosaur footprints at Brothers’ Point from the Middle Jurassic Period 170 million years ago—marking the second discovery of dinosaur footprints from that period on Skye and one of the few examples of dinosaur life from this period. We did not see any such footprints nor any sign that people knew about the discovery, but I expect that as more people find out, Brothers’ Point will only become more popular. That’s why you need to get there ASAP!
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Hiking Brothers’ Point
Distance: 2.25 miles (3.5km)
Time: 2-3 hours
Brothers’ Point isn’t the easiest to find, which probably helps keep it off the main tourist track. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to hiking Brothers’ Point that I suggest you print so you don’t forget where to park! In addition, I’ve included a map that shows where the car park is in relation to the gravel road you will take to the grass path to the shore.
Heading about 16 miles north from Portree on the A855, look for a small car park on the left side of the of the road just after the Glenview Hotel/Skye Pie Cafe. If you reach Staffin you’ve gone too far. Alternatively, if you’re coming down the A855 from the north and you pass Skye Pie Cafe you’ve gone too far.
Once your car is parked, cross the street and walk towards Skye Pie Cafe for about 50 meters where you will see a gravel driveway and a small signpost pointing to Rubha nam Brathairean. Turn left here.
Follow the driveway until you reach the wide metal gate (like the ones you associate with farms), pass through the gate, close it behind you, and turn right to continue to the grass trail that leads to the water. There is a sign pointing to the grass trail, but we had a hard time finding it as part of it had fallen over.
The walk down the grass trail is downhill and fairly easy. You’ll pass through one more, smaller gate on your way down. We stopped only to take in the views and let some sheep pass by.
You’ll end up on a rocky beach, which you should follow away from the grass path you took down. We spent a while walking along the beach and even discovered a few of our favorite shells while my dad tried in vain to spot some fish and make friends with the sheep.
On your right, you’ll come across the ruins of the salmon bothy with a sign warning hikers that they hike at their own risk on the upcoming cliffs. Continue past this sign (don’t worry), where you’ll reach a grassy bog that will get your feet wet if your shoes aren’t waterproof. As there’s not a clearly defined footpath at this point, do the best you can by spotting the drier spots of the bog and continue upwards.
Once I reached normal grass again, I stopped. Because I don’t like edges or heights, I knew the next part could get dicey for me. If this isn’t an issue for you, continue on the narrow, dirt-lined path leading alongside the cliff that leads to the peninsula for the ‘iconic’ Brother’s Point peninsula view. Earthtrekkers’s have a great guide for getting to the actual peninsula.
If heights aren’t really your thing either, stay in the open grassy area just past the bog and you’ll have stunning views of the peninsula to the south and the coast to the north, where you can see Kilt Rock on a clear day.
When you’re satisfied with the spectacular views that Brothers’ Point offers, head back the way you came to return to your car. While the hike down was easy, we did stop a couple times on the path back up—partly because of the 80ºF+ heat and bright sun and partly because we weren’t as in shape as we thought we were!
On your way back up, be sure to spot the ruins of an old house as well as a small waterfall, both to your left.
Rubha nam Brathairean Tips
- As with all hikes, pack water. It was very hot and sunny the day we went and I wish I had brought more water than I did!
- If you arrive around lunchtime, eat lunch at Skye Pie Cafe, which sells delicious pies. We did talk to the lovely owner who said she might close down the cafe in 2019, so get some pies while you can! It is open from April to October.
- Wear waterproof hiking shoes—walking through the bog (the only way to get to the peninsula) will get your feet wet! My waterproof hiking boots were put to the test and they worked perfectly!
- The car park and hike are both free and open year-round. We only saw one other hiker during our 2.5 hours there.
- Don’t leave anything behind—be respectful of the nature surrounding you.
Rubha nam Brathairean by drone
My brother got some pretty cool footage of Brothers’ Point with his drone that shows the true scale of Scotland and Brothers’ Point. Apologies for my very amateur video editing skills!
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More photos of Rubha nam Brathairean (because it’s so beautiful!)
Looking for more to do on the Isle of Skye?
Visit Fairy Glen